A timely blogging reality check
They work long hours, often to exhaustion. Many are paid by the piece — not garments, but blog posts. This is the digital-era sweatshop. You may know it by a different name: home.
A growing work force of home-office laborers and entrepreneurs, armed with computers and smartphones and wired to the hilt, are toiling under great physical and emotional stress created by the around-the-clock Internet economy that demands a constant stream of news and comment.
Check the full NYT article for some sad and scary snapshots.
1. Many blogs are worse than useless -- information cocoon amplifiers that, e.g., make Rush Limbaugh seem relatively objective. Combined with a stunningly poor average level of information literacy in our society, many blogs are indeed very dangerous. (A good read on these themes: Infotopia)
2. Some blogs are exceptionally useful -- but the ratio of worse-than-useless/useful is discouraging. I expect many of tomorrow's most influential journalists will start as bloggers. This is a timely and positive development, in part because many traditional news channels are going to entropy due to floundering business models and attempts to jump on post-90s patterns (such as an apparent belief that in many contexts speed and post volume are more important than substance, information value-add, or factual accuracy).
3. Feed/communication channel syndication + subscription + notification, e.g., the use of tools such as FeedDemon/Newsgator across a wide variety of channel types, is a great advance, but primarily for people who have a general sense of a) what types of information are likely to be useful to them and b) information literacy. For others, it's conducive to nonstop noise with a poor and worsening signal-to-noise ratio.